March 16, 2010

Identify, Simplify, Justify

Monogram Canvas Néo Bag by Louis Vuitton Look 1: Vintage Blazer, Shirt by Dries Van Noten, Jodhpurs by Comme des Garçons for H&M, Shoes by Whoop-de-Doo. Look 2: Leather Jacket by H&M, Denim and Oxford Shirts by Uniqlo, Jeans by Ksubi, Brogues by Prada. Look 3: Trench by Burberry, Shirt by Shipley and Halmos, Shorts by See by Chloé, Sandals by Jeffrey Campbell.

Picking out a new luxury handbag can be a difficult and lengthy process when you don't collect them, are on a budget, and/or have no idea where to begin. If you have been following this blog for the past couple months, you know of my total dilemma with picking the right color for the Louis Vuitton Néo bag above! But I am happy with my choice. You can see that it goes with my normal color palette, and of course will last a life time.

After helping Lindsey Shook pick out a bag, I thought a little advice from a bag addict might help more people. Here are a few tips that can hopefully help you out when shopping. NOTE: I am writing this from a male perspective so even though I am writing about women's handbags (though some options are more unisex), this applies to briefcases, holdalls, and other man bags.

First, think about your wardrobe as a whole and how the new bag will assimilate. Handbags can be a statement piece or the perfect accent to an outfit, but remember that you will be carrying it everywhere and it is an investment. If you normally like to wear minimalist silhouettes and let your shoes, jewelry, and accessories do the "talking," then fashion bags that come in seasonal styles and bright colors will work. Otherwise, stick with a classic shape and color that suits your style. Do not try to match exactly because wardrobes and moods change constantly. Think about versatility. If you can afford to splurge on designer collector's pieces on a regular basis, share the wealth more power to you. But there are many fast fashion brands producing affordable trendy bags as well.

The next step is dumping out your old bag to see what you have in there now. Your new bag should be able to carry your daily essentials. Estimate how big your bag should be based on your old one, which will help you decide on a functional silhouette that matches your needs and personality.

Finally, it is time to decide on a budget and do some research. Budgets almost always determine where you are going to shop, but do not rule out sales, the Internet, and promotions. Research is important, even for the seasoned shopper. There is always something new and multiple options are a godsend when you are nervous about spending; there is security in knowing you made the right decision.

And when you cannot make up your mind, ask your friends! Ask for an honest opinion from someone whose taste is similar to yours, or at least someone who knows your style. I had such doubt about my color choice for the bag above that I asked everyone to vote. When everyone weighed in the other color seemed to win, but after taking a couple of my friends to view the bags, they all agreed that the Monogram suits me more. I am glad I trusted my instincts (backed with objective opinions). I couldn't be happier!

I hope that this post was helpful, or at least a little educational. Many of you are probably saying, "DUH" right now, but at least you are reading.. Thanks again for that! I think I can cool it for a little while on the bag posts, but as my wishlist indicates there will definitely be more to come :)

- jerome

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